The 5-3 Dallas Cowboys travel to the Mercedes-Benz stadium to take on the 4-4 Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, November 12, 2017. With Ezekiel Elliot now suspended for the next six games, this will be the first test for the Cowboys who look to gain some momentum in their quest to earn a playoff spot.
Atlanta looked very much like the team that advanced to the Super Bowl last season, rolling out to start the season, but they have fallen on hard times of late and are in danger of not even making the playoffs at all. This is a team that is desperately in need of a win, and with the Cowboys, without Elliott, this should give the Falcons the ability to attack the passing game on their way to victory.
Dallas enters this contest 5-3 against the spread this season, including going 8-4 in their last 12 games on the road against the spread. In the last six games between these two teams, Dallas has gone 2-4 against the spread and they are 2-4 straight up against Atlanta in the last six. The total has gone over in four of the last five games for the Cowboys, but has gone under in 15 of their last 21 road games. The total has been over in four of the last five games between these two teams, but has been under in four of the last five in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Falcons are 2-6 against the spread this season, this includes going 0-5 over there last five games against the spread. They have gone over in 16 of their last 22 games but under in four of the last five. Atlanta has gone over the total in 12 of the last 14 at home.
Cowboys vs. Falcons
Spread: Dallas +3 (+100); Atlanta -3 (-120) Get the latest NFL odds direct from Las Vegas with WagerTalk Live Lines
Moneyline: Dallas +148; Atlanta -168
Totals: Over/Under 48.5 (-110)
Last season, quarterback Dak Prescott became the star of the league when he led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record. He was the toast of the league, and is now going to get an opportunity to earn that adulation as his star running back will be on the sidelines for the next six weeks.
Prescott is putting up some impressive numbers the season, completing 62.9 percent of his passes for 1818 yards, throwing 16 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He has also been sacked just 10 times in the eight games he has played in this year. His numbers are solid for sure, but he is going to need to step up his game if they are going to compete with the Falcons.
With Elliott out, running back Alfred Morris is really going to have to step up. He has been a starter and a very successful one in Washington, but has not had to carry the burden of 20 to 25 carries a game in quite some time. How he holds up is going to be a deciding factor in this contest.
What happened to the Falcons is a question that many in the NFL are asking. They started out the season 3-0, but have fallen on hard times of late. They need a real effort to win this game, and should they fall they may be out of playoff contention at this point.
A lot of the swagger is gone with the Falcons, and that is primarily because quarterback Matt Ryan has looked solid but not MVP like as he was last year. Ryan is completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 2157 yards, but has thrown just 11 touchdowns and has seven interceptions. His numbers are no longer eye-popping and this is part of the reason why Atlanta has not looked as astounding as last year.
Devonta Freeman has done an outstanding job when carrying the ball, gaining 512 yards and five touchdowns while posting a 4.5 yards per carry average. The problem is that he simply doesn’t get the ball enough. With the kind of numbers that he is putting up, 114 carries in eight games is just not enough for a back putting up these kinds of numbers.
Cowboys vs. Falcons Betting Lines
Each of these teams comes in with question marks, especially for the Cowboys. How do they respond to the loss of Elliott is going to be a big determination in this contest. As of Thursday they still believed that he had a shot of playing, but that is no longer the case. This alone should be a psychological letdown for the team and really aid Atlanta. Take the Falcons to cover the spread and for this game to total in the 50s.
My Pick: Atlanta -3 (-120)
Total: Over 48.5 (-110)